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FIFA Women's World Cup™

Italy

Italy Women v Belgium Women - FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifier
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FIFA Women's World Cup record
Italy are returning to the competition after a 20-year absence. Having contested the tournament's first instalment, China PR 1991, and featured in the USA eight years later, La Squadra Azzurra will be making their third appearance at the global extravaganza when they play at France 2019.

Their best result came at the inaugural edition, where they reached the quarter-finals before succumbing to eventual runners-up Norway. They fell at the first hurdle in 1999, finishing third in their group after losing to Brazil, drawing with Germany and beating Mexico.

The road to France
The Italians booked their ticket to France 2019 with a game to spare following a run of seven wins in as many matches in European zone qualifying Group 6. This made it impossible for their closest challengers Belgium to catch them.

The coach
Milena Bertolini spent 15 seasons playing in the Italian top flight. After hanging up her boots, the former centre-back became a qualified fitness trainer before gaining her coaching badges. She had stints in charge of Verona, Reggiana and Brescia, prior to getting the call from the national team in August 2017. Since then, she has transformed Italy's fortunes and led them back to the Women's World Cup following two decades in the wilderness.

The stat
2 – Bertolini is one of only two women to hold the licence required to coach teams in the men's version of Italy's Serie A. The other is Carolina Morace.